Each year, hundreds of Nova Scotians lose money to fraud. Scam
artists operate in person, over the telephone, through the mail
and on the Internet. Many scams are convincing, and most victims
are surprised that they have been fooled.
Nova Scotians can learn how to prevent fraud during February,
which is Fraud Awareness Month in Canada. The best protection
against fraud, say officials at Service Nova Scotia and Municipal
Relations, is to learn to recognize the signs of a scam. For
instance, you cannot win a lottery that you have not entered, and
no legitimate lottery will ask you to pay taxes or other fees
before giving winnings.
Experts say to be suspicious if:
-- You are told that you won a prize, but you are asked to pay a
fee to be able to claim your prize;
-- A telephone salesperson is pressuring you to accept a "limited
time offer" that expires if you hang up;
-- A caller asks for personal or financial information;
-- The price of a product is much less than the price for the
same product on the open market.
If you suspect a potential fraud, protect yourself by walking
away. At the very least, tell the person you need more
information and more time to consider the offer. If they will not
provide written information or if they try to hurry your
decision, walk away.
"Identity theft is the fastest growing type of fraud in Canada,"
said Gerald Hashey, a consumer protection expert with the
department. "Safeguarding your personal information has become
essential. Criminals can use your identifying information to make
major purchases and obtain credit, all in your name."
People who have been the victim of fraud should contact police.
Incidents of fraud should also be reported to PhoneBusters, the
Canadian antifraud call centre at 1-888-495-8501. Information
about PhoneBusters is available on the website atwww.phonebusters.com
For tips on how to prevent fraud visit the Service Nova Scotia
and Municipal Relations website at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/consumer/
and look under special features or contact the department at 424-
5200 (HRM) or toll-free at 1-800-670-4357.
FOR BROADCAST USE:
Each year, hundreds of Nova Scotians lose money to fraud.
Scam artists operate in person, over the telephone, through the
mail and on the Internet. Many scams are convincing, and most
victims are surprised that they have been fooled.
For tips on how to prevent fraud visit the Service Nova
Scotia and Municipal Relations website
Information can also be obtained by calling 424-5200 in
H-R-M or toll-free at 1-800-670-4357.
Contact: Lenore Bromley
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
jss February 17, 2005 11:31 A.M.